Gluten free Christmas cake

As Christmas cakes go, this recipe is pretty straightforward and quick to make. I’m not a massive fan of the traditional thick icing or fruit peel, but you can make yours to your own preference. The recipe makes one large cake serving around 16.

Ingredients:

150g sultanas

350g raisins

50g chopped dried apricot

50g chopped soft dried prunes

150g glace cherries (and a few extra for decoration)

50g chopped crystallised stem ginger

150ml rum or whisky

zest & juice 1 orange

zest & juice 1 lemon

5 large eggs

300g soft brown sugar

pinch of salt

250g plain gluten free flour

1tsp mixed spice

1 tsp nutmeg (or 1 whole, grated)

2tsp cinnamon

1tsp baking powder

1 tsp xantham gum

150g unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 heaped tbsp golden syrup

Clear honey (for decoration)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2 and grease a round baking dish.
  2. Place the raisins, sultanas, apricot, prunes and cherries in a bowl, then add the rum and cover. Leave to soak overnight.
  3. The next day, in a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together.
  4. Add the eggs one by one while whisking.
  5. Stir in the mixed spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange, lemon and golden syrup.
  6. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and xanthum gum and mix well.
  7. Into this mixture, stir in the fruit that has been soaking, scraping in extra juices, plus the chopped ginger pieces.
  8.  Scrape the mixture into the baking tin, don’t worry if it nearly fills the tin.
  9. Bake for 1.5 – 2 hours, or until golden brown on top and a skewer into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Once completely cool, decorate using the cherries and a drizzle of honey.

 

 

 

 

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Gluten free fruit scones

Going gluten free doesn’t have to mean giving up on the dream of a proper, freshly baked fruit scone! If you’ve not ventured into gluten free baking much, don’t be put off by some of the ingredients listed. I promise you the final result will be well worth a foray into the world of gluten free flours, gums and baking agents. Think of it as a labour of looooove.

This recipe is adapted slightly from the River Cottage Gluten Free cook book which I highly recommend! It makes 10 medium scones, or 6-8 large ones. They are best eaten or frozen on the day they’re made.

Ingredients:

150g ground almonds

150g potato starch

50g tapioca starch

50g rice flour

50g sorghum flour

4 tsp ground psyllium husk

1 level tsp salt

1 tbsp caster sugar

100g chilled unsalted butter

2 medium eggs

150g full fat greek yoghurt

2 tsp lemon juice

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

125g sultanas

Splash of milk

Milk or beaten egg for brushing on top

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C / 475°F / gas mark 9 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the almonds, potato, tapioca, rice, sorghum, psyllium husk, salt and sugar into a bowl.
  3. Dice the cold butter and work it through the flours with your fingertips until the whole thing resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. In another bowl whisk up the yoghurt, lemon juice and eggs. Then whisk in the bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Quickly add the liquid mixture into breadcrumbs and work through with a fork.
  6. If you need to loosen the mixture, add a splash of milk and mix.
  7. Mix in the sultanas.
  8. On a board sprinkled with gluten free flour work handfuls of the mixture into rounds and place on the trays.
  9. Leave to stand for 15 minutes, then brush the top of each with beaten egg.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes until a skewer into the centre of the scones comes out clean.
  11. Serve with butter, jam, whipped cream or all three!

 

 

 

Banana porridge muffins

Banana porridge but in delicious muffin form. These gluten free muffins are quick and easy to make and even pretty healthy. Excellent breakfast choice. This recipe makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

3 medium ripe bananas

120 ml sour cream

2 eggs beaten

80g brown sugar

180g gluten free oats

40g gluten free plain flour

1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and prepare a muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Spoon the mixture evenly into muffin cases.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until brown on top and a skewer into the muffins comes out clean.

 

Gluten free pancakes

This makes 4 large thin, savoury and gluten free pancakes. I’ve tried lots of recipes and would say the BBC GoodFood recipe for gluten free pancakes is the best. It is really simple! Double the amounts if you are making for more than 2 people.

Ingredients 

125g gluten free plain flour

1 egg

250ml milk

butter, for frying

Method

  1. Add the flour, egg and quarter of the milk to a bowl and whisk until it is smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the milk slowly and keep whisking.
  3. Cover the bowl and leave it to rest for 20 mins. This will thicken up the mixture.
  4. Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. Use a ladle to cover the pan with mixture.
  5. After a few minutes, or once the pancake is golden brown on bottom side, flip to other side for another few minutes.
  6. Tip – give your pan a wipe with kitchen roll between each pancake or you’ll end up with burnt butter and slightly charred pancakes.
  7. I served mine with banana, maple syrup and chopped nuts.

 

 

 

 

Pistachio and almond cake

Cream cheese icing is the best thing ever. Sadly, it’s very rare you come across a nice gluten free cake when you’re out and about never mind a nice gluten free cake topped with loads of cream cheese icing. Nevermind, when the craving hits all you need is this recipe!  

For the cake: 

250g unsalted butter (room temperature)

200g caster sugar

4 large eggs

100g ground almonds

100g ground pistachio nuts (shelled, unsalted)

70g plain gluten free flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

For the icing: 

50g unsalted butter (room temperature)

300g icing sugar

125g cream cheese (cold)

50g broken unsalted pistachio nuts

 

Method: 

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and prepare a loaf-style baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl. I use an electric whisk throughout.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. If you are using whole pistachios grind (in a food processor for about 90 seconds or with a pestle and mortar) until coarsely ground.
  5. Add the ground pistachios, ground almonds, baking powder and flour into the egg mixture and mix well.
  6. Pour the cake mix into the tin, and bake for 40 – 50 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick into the centre comes out clean.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the icing.
  8. In a bowl combine the butter, cheese and sugar and beat well until smooth.
  9. Roughly chop your pistachios.
  10. Once the cake is cool ice and crumble the pistachios over the top.
  11. YUM.

Hash browns

Who needs gluten free toast when you can have hashbrowns and gluten free toast?

Ingredients:

450g peeled potatoes

120g peeled white onion

2 large eggs

50g plain gluten free flour

75g grated mature cheddar

Handful chopped chives

Salt and pepper

1tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)

 

Method:

  1. Grate the potatoes and onions and leave to drain in a collander. After 30 minutes pat dry with some kitchen roll.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (except oil) and mix well.
  3. Pour the oil into a frying pan on a medium heat.
  4. Once the pan is hot, spoon the mixture into the pan and spread into your hashbrown shape (no need for a mould).
  5. Cook on each side for around 7-8 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

 

Breakfast bars

It’s not a Greggs bacon roll, it’s better! (Kind of). Gluten free breakfast on the go can be a bit of a nightmare, but these gluten free breakfast bars are delicious and really quick to make. One batch will last you a couple of weeks too.

Ingredients:

1 x 400ml can light condensed milk

250g gluten free oats

75g dried coconut

125g seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower)

125g nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, walnuts)

100g dried fruit (e.g. raisins, cranberry)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/275ºF/Gas mark 1 and line a large rectangular baking tray greaseproof paper.
  2. Roughly chop your nuts or give them 10 seconds or so in the food processor. Add in the seeds for the last couple of seconds.
  3. Add the oats, coconut, nuts, seeds and fruit into a bowl.
  4. Pour the milk into a saucepan and place over a low heat. Heat for a couple of minutes until it loosens up in consistency, no need to bring it to the boil.
  5. Pour the milk into the bowl with all the other ingredients and stir well until the milk has covered everything.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the baking tray and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes until lightly brown on top.
  8. Lift onto a chopping board and allow to cool before slicing.
  9. You can make 24 small squares (6×4) or 12 larger rectangles (6×2).

 

Spicy butternut soup

They’d call this one a ‘winter warmer’. I think it’s equally good in any season. This makes 8 big bowls.

Ingredients:

400g or 2 large peeled onions

2kg or 2 very large peeled and deseeded butternuts

200g or 2/3 large peeled carrots

3 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons medium curry powder

1 ltr water

1 ltr gluten free vegetable stock like Kallo or Bouillon

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method: 

  1. Slice your onions and crush the garlic.
  2. Add the oil to a very large soup pot and add the onions. Sweat them for around 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime roughly chop all your other veg, the soup gets blitzed at the end so don’t worry about chopping nicely.
  4. Add the garlic and curry powder and simmer for another minute. Turn the heat down low while you do this so that the powder doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the butternut, carrots, water, stock, salt and pepper and turn the heat to medium.
  6. Cover and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Season again with salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Use a blender to blitz the soup until it’s nice and smooth. NOTE – wait until the soup is cool before you do this unless you want soup on your ceiling (was very hard to clean).

 

 

Victoria sponge

Shock your pals when they discover this cake is gluten free! (Actual shock) 

For the cake:

175g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

175g caster sugar

175g gluten free flour

3 large eggs

50 ml milk

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

For the middle and top:

Half a jar of jam (any flavour)

150ml whipping cream

Fruit to decorate

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5 and prepare two 20cm/8in round cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl. I use an electric whisk.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Mix in the flour, baking powder then slowly add the milk.
  5. Pour the cake mix evenly into the two tins, and bake for 20 minutes until light brown on top and a toothpick into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Flip the cakes out of the tins and allow to cool.
  7. In a bowl whisk the cream until it reaches a consistency for spreading on top of your cake, around 3 – 5 minutes.
  8. Make sure the cakes can sit nicely on top of each and if you need to, skim off any raised or bumpy sections with a knife.
  9. Once they’re completely cool, fill with jam and top with cream and fruit.

Orange and polenta cake

This has oranges and polenta in it and is therefore basically health food. 

For the cake: 

200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

200g demerera sugar

3 large eggs

200g ground almonds

75g course polenta

25g plain gluten free flour

zest of 2 oranges

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

For the syrup:

125g golden caster sugar

250 ml orange juice

1 cinnammon stick

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and prepare a loaf-style baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl. I use an electric whisk.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add the vanilla, almonds, polenta, zest and baking powder and mix well.
  5. Pour the cake mix into the tin, and bake for 40 – 50 minutes until golden brown on top.
  6. While the cake is cooling, make the syrup.
  7. In a saucepan add the sugar, orange juice and cinnamon and simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the syrup over the cake.
  9. Allow to cool then slice.